What is Reference Data Management (RDM)?

One of the specialized data management solution types encompassed by this Disruptive MDM / PIM List is Reference Data Management (RDM).

Reference data are typically smaller lists of data records that are referenced by master data and transaction data. These lists do not change often. They tend to be externally defined but can also be internally defined within each organization. The below table have some examples of reference data lists used across many organizations and industries:Reference DataRDM solutions may offer this functionality around the reference data:

  • The data store that holds the data
  • The user interface for maintaining the lists
  • Access control
  • Hierarchy management as for example how countries have (or not have) states/provinces that have postal codes
  • Managing relationships and mapping between the list values as for example how a SIC industry sector code relates to NACE industry sector codes
  • Versioning of the lists
  • Language and further context management
  • Audit trails
  • Approval workflows
  • Data integration capabilities

There are applications that is purely focussing on RDM as well as MDM and broader data management solutions / suites that have RDM as a one of several capabilities where the above-mentioned functionality is shared with master data and perhaps other critical application data.

If you use the select your solution service here on the site, RDM is one of the capabilities you can mark as a requirement for your solution.

Extended MDM Platforms

There is a tendency on the Master Data Management (MDM) market that solutions providers aim to deliver an extended MDM platform to underpin customer experience efforts. Such a platform will not only handle traditional master data, but also reference data, big data (as data lakes) either directly or by linking to the data in there as well as linking to transactions.

The recent acquisition of AllSight by Informatica is an example hereof.

In this context traditional MDM will, supplemented with Reference Data Management (RDM), enable the handling of:

  • Customer, supplier and product identity
  • Customer, supplier and product hierarchies
  • Customer, supplier and product locations

Additionally, the data lake concept can be used for:

Extended MDM Platforms

What is your view: Should MDM solution providers stick to traditional master data or should they strive to encompass other kinds of data too?